Keep Your Focus

Photo: Winter Sunrise Through Silhouetted Pines – Copyright 2021 Frank J Casella.

This beautiful moment in time came and went in less than twenty minutes, yet it is one of those moments that you steal some time to notice God’s creation, that He is still in control.

The thought that came to mind, though, before I clicked the camera shutter, was how without this sky the trees are back to the ‘reality’ of everyday. That you have to look through these trees to see the full picture of colors and cloud formations.

The same thing happens in everyday life, that if we don’t keep our focus on what is important, we can become distracted by the ‘eye candy’ in front of us. That it is okay to appreciate the beauty of life to remind, those of us who believe, that it is not all about us but through His love.

In any event, I hope whatever this moment in time brings to mind for you, that you find it meaningful even if it is as quick as it came and went, from my camera to you.

Your E-Mail Address and Your Identity

Photo: ‘Speedy Delivery’ Copyright 2012 Frank J Casella

Where you live online has become more important than your street address offline, unless you have packages delivered to you. Specifically, your e-mail address says more about you, and moves with you, than any other identity we can have. Because whether or not you have social media accounts, a website, a cell phone / text number, or the bills and banking for your home, you more often than not need an e-mail address to have them.

I also think it be important to have both a free mail address for your everyday lifestyle interactions, and a custom domain e-mail address for communicating with ‘live’ people in your life. With your own e-mail domain, unlike free-mail providers, you can easily move a domain to a different provider if need be. You can’t do this with your house or the address with which you live. And, in the United States, domain names count as intellectual property – they are legally protected. As with free-mail domains, you are forced to change your e-mail if the provider changes.

So, this is why I say that if your identity is important to you, and that people find you directly before using a search engine, that your e-mail address makes this easy to contact you straight away.

Artists, Photography, and Blogs

Photo: ‘Union League Club Chicago‘ – Copyright 2014 Frank J Casella

Social media was intended to be a place where good people of all walks of life are free to express themselves and share opinions authentically. With the widespread censorship we’re currently witnessing runs contrary to this purpose.

Likewise, it is a false myth that our data is what we have to give up to have a great online social experience. Both Vivaldi and MeWe are “free forever” because privacy is not something anyone should ever have to pay for.

This is why I say that this Vivaldi blog, for me, is like Blogger without the ads, and with more privacy. If you have a blog with at least a contact form, and your posts become visible on the search engines, people who share your interests will start to contact you. And very often they’ll be people who don’t use social media.

Now I said on my first post for this blog that I would stay away from talking about my professional interests, but I have to make an exception this time, because I find this too important not to talk about. As an art photographer, I find that many artists use social media to sell their works and gain followers. But they forget that what makes your art distinctive is to be yourself.

So with all that is going on with social media now (with the exception I think of MeWe), we see artists changing platforms. I say why not walk away from social media and make your voice on a (Vivaldi) blog. Many times Artists say they can’t blog because they don’t know what to talk about, but they forget all you have to do is be yourself, just like your art.

So, if you are an artist, or photographer, I invite you to look into the business model of Vivaldi, that, like a photo sharing site, lets you see the image properties of photos on the web.

The key is to be intentional on how you use these platforms. Use technology to stay connected, but do so on your own terms.

The Secret to Finding True Rest

While growing up, several members of my family would take a nap in the middle of the day. It was called a ‘power nap’ that would help you to be alert and focused for the rest of the day.

But another concept that I was brought up with is how there is a difference between sleep and rest. In other words, when you sleep you ‘recharge’ your human battery, so to speak, but sometimes you still need to rest your body even though you have caught up on your sleep.

I’ve been seeing more and more people running around and being more active, and saying that even though they get enough sleep how they are still tired. Well now you know, the key to finding true rest is to also make time to just rest your body as well.

Photo: ‘Trees and Branches in the Fall’ Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

Do You Lie To Yourself?

Photo: Autumn Landscape Wetlands Bridge - Color Nature Landscape Photograph - Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella
Photo: ‘Autumn Landscape Wetlands Bridge’ – Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

While growing up I used to lie all the time, until about my college days, because I had low self esteem, short of the long, and I wanted to be accepted by everyone. Then I realized how exhausting it was to remember what lie I told to what person. The other danger I found about the lie, is that you can become a chameleon towards issues, which over time causes people not to trust you because they don’t know where you truly stand.

Most people rationalize through life. My late father always talked at the dinner table about how his co-workers always took the path of least resistance, and rationalized it. So, while in college, I asked him what he meant by this and why he often talked about it. He told me that in life you have to know where you stand, or you will fall for anything. When you stand for something, people come to trust you or know whether or not you fit into their orbit.

A lot of this caused my going deeper into my Catholic faith that taught me how it’s not so much about my being accepted, as much as it is how much I give to this world to make a positive difference through being truthful and transparent, and being the best version of myself that God made me.

People Don’t Like What I Say

In this digital age we have many choices from social media, to e-mail and mailing list, and even blogs, to write our thoughts. But the thing I often hear from people is they have fear of sharing their thoughts because people won’t like what they have to say.

Now I know that some platforms are censoring what people are posting, and yet others are losing their jobs or are publicly humiliated for what they share online. However, the important thing for me was to find the platform that allows me to share what I need to, and not worry about what other people think who read it, and dump the others.

The reason for sharing your thoughts is that it not only helps to form our own opinions, but that we all have a right to our own opinion even if we don’t have a right to our own facts. It doesn’t matter if others are reading what you are saying, because you need to do this for yourself first.

The title of the picture for this blog post is ‘Conversations at the Preserve’ because along the path of life what is important is to spend time thinking and talking, even if it is only with yourself. I have been (and you will be) surprised that when people in the real world ask for opinions how much (you and) I will have it, and speak it, well thought out already.

Faith, Prayer, and Politics.

silhouette, trees, sky, clouds, square,

Sometimes our prayers, with good intentions, don’t seem to make a dent in things, other times we see change, and yet other times prayers are meant to change us to see God’s wisdom in each matter.

But the important thing is that, no matter how God responds, He gives us the power of prayer as a secret weapon that goes beyond human understanding. When we pray, we are making an appeal vertically for everything we are dong horizontally. Other times God may put it on our hearts to pray for a matter.

For example, there is this belief in politics these days of what is called the silent majority. This is when people don’t say or show who they support or will vote for. However, when it comes to our faith and prayer, there has been a silent majority through prayer for ages … you might also call this the wireless connection to God.

So it is important to pray for each other, because we need each other, and our prayers do not go to waste.

Letting Anger Go

‘Cloud Dance Above the Trees’ Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

How do we handle our emotions?

First we admit them.

Second we refuse to let anger control us.

Third we ask ourselves key questions, if we should act on it (by talking to the person) or let it go.

Anger should be treated as a visitor, never a resident.

The Real Silent Majority

Autumn Yellow Flowers Morning Sunlight – Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

This is an election year, here, for the United States President. It is said there is a silent majority of people who are not saying who they will vote for, nor put political signs in front of their houses as is the custom.

But I say the real silent majority that keeps our country with many blessings is not so much the public servants as it is the power of prayer. Yes, there are many prayer warriors who, in numbers, I would suspect are in greater than any number of voters can make.

So, I say that people can vote their consience, but it is the Lord God who knows the outcome already who, through our prayers, moves the minds of the people who are in tune with Him.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:18-20

Why Life Has Its Seasons

When I bought my house, my late father told me to not get attached to it. And the same goes for my neighbors, a few of them recently sold and move out of state.

Life has its seasons, and the people we meet are only for a certain time, then we meet others. And this happens for a reason, so we must trust that it is meant to be.

It brings different experiences, good or bad, to our life. Just like the leaves on the trees, and the sunlight and storms that pass each day.

Because it is through these experiences that makes it why we call it life. How we decide to live through, or respond to, these seasons determines who we become.

The Beauty of Fog and Mist

There is something about fog that is both beautiful yet mysterious or challenging.

Have you ever heard someone say “I need to get through the fog on that” or “this problem has me in the fog”??

Fog is simply condensed water vapor in cloud like masses lying close to the ground and limiting visibility. There is much to that about life as well.

When we drive our car through the fog, for example, it is sometimes hard to find our way. We usually have to wait for the fog to lift to get to our destination.

Likewise, to get through the fog in our lives, we sometimes have to wait for the issue or problem to take its course, and the fog to lift, so we can then see the path we need to take.

Fog reminds us to see the beauty of the pathways in our life.

I Make a Case for Writing My Blog on Vivaldi

I just read a book by Glenn Reynolds, “The Social Media Upheaveal”. He says that we are deep reading less, and learning from headlines more. He also says that many of us share on social media articles that we have not read, more so share by the head line.

I think it’s important to write down our thoughts, so that we know where we stand on the issues of our time. My late father used to say that you have to know where you stand, so you don’t fall for anything. So it seems, today, the best way to be more educated than the masses is to read more than the headline. Then write down our own thoughts.

Writing also helps those who come after us to see the person we were. It doesn’t matter if it is a journal, a newsletter, a blog, or a spiral notebook. Sometimes it can speak to people here today, as well, to share in the discourse, because we are all at different levels in life, and sharing helps each other through it.

The thing about writing and reading blogs, is that you can connect the dots between thoughts and ideas. Although my newsletter is my favorite creative outlet for sharing, my blog is where I share thoughts that link it with the thoughts of others. A practice that is uncommon today. So, if a comment to a blog post might be too long, with blogs we can link to it with a post in response.

I like to follow people who are successful doing the uncommon thing. Like it is said to be successful you have to have your own website or blog, with a custom domain name, and I have found this to be untrue. I also have seen several bloggers over the years who have moved back and forthe from having their own platform, to blogging on a community provider, just like I’m doing here with Vivaldi. The big guy, Reynolds, known as “The Blogfather” is doing just that here for example.

Some people say that podcasts are the new blog. But I say that more people are moving away from social media and migrating (back) to the open web with some sort of blogging. Just like it has been said that email is dead, but I would bet more people read email than social media … becuase to have a social media account you usually need an email address.

All of this to say that my transition to Vivaldi is the place where I develop my thoughts and ideas with pictures and words. I hope you find what I have to say meaningful, as I’m proud to do it!

Thanks for reading.

Being Thankful

When the paths that we take in life become overshadoweed with obstacles, the best route to take is to be optimistic and thankful. The people who become successful use their struggles to become stronger, and surround themselves with others who see opportunities from each failure.

Know too, that when we focus on God instead of self, and tell our obstacles about God, instead of telling God about our obstacles, we see tiny bits of progress each day as if there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So when given a choice, take the path of being thankful.

A Country of Immigrants

Photo: American Flag Through the Trees – Copyright 2020 Frank J Casella

The United States is a county made up of immigrants. Many immigrants I talk with say the USA is the greatest country in the world.

It’s a land of opportunity. A place where, through hard work, dreams do come true.

In my view, every person in this county is either an immigrant or an ancestor of one.

I find that, many of us like me who were born here in the US have trouble tasting and achieving success in a way that immigrants do.

We’re not on fire, or appreciate, as much the gift and opportunity this country offers. But I’m not saying we are lazy …

In talking with immigrants about this, I have concluded, when us who are ‘cradle Americans’ face a challenge or a goal to achieve, we should try and think how our ancestor who immigrated here would do it.

This puts a very different light and perspective on our own success. For we have much to thank our family ancestry for.

Think about it.

Thank you for reading. Enjoy your day!

Vivaldi